The Shadow of Great Britain

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“Next, please welcome the highest noble, the winner of the Order of the Garter, the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Order of the Bath, the Victoria Cross, and the lower-ranking knights, the leader of the anti-colonial movement, the bell-ringer of the East India Company, the hero of the Crimean War, a fellow of the Royal Society, a lifelong friend of literary giants such as Dickens and Dumas, a staunch supporter of scientific stars such as Faraday and Darwin, who has served as an assistant minister, deputy minister, and permanent secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of the Navy, and other departments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the first cabinet secretary and civil servant of the kingdom, and the most outstanding alumnus of our school, respected Sir Arthur Hastings, who is about to give a speech at the 50th anniversary celebration of the University of London.”

Arthur’s gaze swept across the audience, looking at the young faces, and he muttered to himself, “Agares, do you think I should say something?”

The red devil’s shadow floated behind him, and his saliva almost dripped from the corner of his mouth. “Look at these ignorant souls, they still worship you as a hero. Why not say something they’d like to hear?”

Arthur took a deep breath and let out a thunderous roar, “Oxford is all raised by prostit**es!”

“Oh!!!!!!”

The audience erupted in thunderous applause.

“Cambridge is the same!” he added immediately.

The applause grew even more intense.

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大不列颠之影
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Review
1 Review


Shimatta
New Shimatta
Jun 18, 2024
Status: c1
I have read over 300 chapters and I can say that it's worth reading. But if you want to read books that give you instant gratification, don't read this book. You must have certain knowledge of European history, or be at least interested in it to fully enjoy the book. I can't tell how accurate some of the information given in this book are, but apparently the author had referenced to 27 books just to write the first volume. The story is slow in the first volume, but picks up... more>> pace in the second volume. I can easily see that the author has put their heart and soul into creating this novel. It is not some wish-fulfillment novel, and you'll certainly require some level of maturity to enjoy this book as well. For this generation of people who like junk books, this book that aims to slowly tell a gripping story might be too much, though. As for characters, I'll talk about MC for now. MC is written really well. He's responsible, accountable, strong, forgiving, fair, eloquent, smart and empathetic and at the same ruthless and vindictive at the same time. He is a good person in general and definitely not a pushover. For example, when one of his friends betray him, he forgives the guy because he was coerced by his superior and the guy simply couldn't refuse. On the other hand, when some people intentionally harm him, he definitely strikes back no matter what, sometimes immediately, sometimes after gaining enough resources and power. After reading and dropping so many books with cold, domineering MCs with no personality, Arthur Hastings' character seems to shine brightly like our sun.

There's also character development. MC starts as a just character, but as he interacts more and more with many influential figures, he starts to change. For example, he had once cried bitterly for not being able to. Save someone. He didn't use to take bribes. But after seeing so many heartless people and corrupt officials and politicians, he also becomes somewhat cold-hearted and corrupt, because he realizes he cannot escape from it no matter what. But he still retains his funny and calm self.

You also need to know some concepts and famous people to enjoy this novel. For example, basic European history and wars, politics, ethics, economics, religion, some science, philosophy, famous laws and incidents, etc. To fully enjoy the novel.

For example, even jokes are related to British making fun of Frenchmen, or one political party making fun of the other. These jokes work well with the setting of the novel. But without prior knowledge of various things, these jokes will go over many people's heads.

One thing I wish the author had done better is the lengthy dialogues that sometimes cover half of the chapter. The characters go on and on talking about concepts like utilitarianism, electromagnetism, past wars etc. Not everyone understands these concepts, after all. But they are informative as well.

The worst thing about this book as well as its strength is how the author takes time explaining everything. You learn a lot about the 19th century, but at the same time, the plot advances extremely slowly. At some times, you feel that the arc is never going to be finished.

Also, apparently the author had originally intended to include magic as well, but as he thought of the story he wanted to write, he realized that the setting of the 19th century Britain is quite captivating in itself and didn't need magic to make it exciting. And I can honestly see that. The constant fight between the Whigs and Tories, nobility and royalty, power struggle, scientific development, pirates, smugglers, rampant corruption, lack of security, lack of employment and high poverty and inequality, mu*ders, etc. The novel gives a glimpse to all of these things as if we are really living that life and can see how Britain was in the 19th century. It's so vivid, it's amazing. Then there's the presence of the Devil Agares in the story. We are yet to know the significance of his presence in the story, so I can only wait for the author to reveal. <<less
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